Christmas Rides

Whilst taking a tiki-tour round the North Island I managed to get three superb rides in.

The first was Taupo, craters of the moon park, which is fast becoming my favourite XC/trail park.

The second was in Napier at the Pan Pac Eskdale mtb park. This place is one of New Zealand’s hidden gems. Based in the same style forest as Rotorua, it’s more raw, but equally as fun, with just as many tracks to explore.

You have to get a permit to ride there, and my own poor planning led me to have to f!$k around on my iphone for half an hour with minimal coverage trying to get one.

I’m glad it did though, because as I was about to set off a car pulled up and Amy (as she is now known) asked whether I knew the area.

Explaining that I didn’t, she immediately yanked her half made bike out of her boot and put her helmet and gloves on.

After another twenty minutes adding handle bars and other things onto her bike, and Amy donning a perfectly acceptable outfit, for a summer picnic, we set off into the unknown.

By this time it was 7.30pm and after getting lost and light fading we had still not made it up to the trig at the top.

I was getting quite worried, but of course but on the bravest face I could to my new comrade, who explained to me that she didn’t usually go off into the bush with strange men.

At last, at about 8.45 we made it to the top and smashed it down some unbelievably good single track, with mini-gaps, step downs and drops. Altogether well worth it.

The third ride was along the Rimutaka Rail Trail from Featherston, Wairarapa,  all the way to Petone, Wellington a 60KM haul (which I was very proud off until Mr Hammond told me he had ridden the whole 140Km loop).

The Rimutaka-Rail-Trail is 22 kilometres of the original route of the Wairarapa Line. The start is a grueling 8km climb up to the summit.

The light at the end of the tunnel

On the way up I passed an 82 year old man donning aviators and a proper old skid lid. No competition is bad competition, but moments later, not to be outdone by a young whipper snapper like myself, the old guy passed me.

I said to him, ‘either i’m going slower, or your going faster’, which is when I saw the electric motor attached to his 20 year old bike. He said ‘this thing can go a lot faster than this’ and off he sped.

I managed to catch up with him in the tunnel as he t!tted around with his lights, so I got the better of him in he end. As I said, no competition is bad competition, but all credit due to him, he was an absolute legend.

Eventually I veered off the main trail up to tunnel gully and down one of the secret tracks called beeline, and then made my way down the Hutt River to Petone.

The beer tasted so sweet at the end.

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